08 August 2011

The Big Birthday Debate

About a week ago my oldest turned 3! I cannot even believe it. We've come so far in 3 years and our lives have changed so much. We have been so incredibly blessed!

As the time to start planning a birthday party for Ruby Red approached, my husband and I hemmed and hawed about whether or not to invite great aunts and uncles and my husband's co-workers. It may seem odd to even consider co-workers, but with husbands that travel as often, sporadic, and last-minute as ours do, we have become second families to each other and celebrate our children's birthdays and even holidays like Thanksgiving together. I was worried about how big the party would be but my husband and I settled on inviting everyone. It's an honor and a blessing to have such loving family and friends who want to be a part of your little kiddos lives and since we won't be with this group of friends forever or in this area for too much longer, it just felt right. We've resolved that these people really love us and our children and are so excited when asked to come to their parties, so we will do just that. The girls parties will be significantly smaller as we move away from family so we're going to appreciate it right now.

The only problem my husband and I had with the big party was all the gifts. Sure I could, and did last year, put a note in the invitations saying "no gifts necessary" but I've realized that if they don't want to they won't bring a gift, and if they want to they will anyway. In fact, I resolved that this time if someone asked me what she wanted or liked I would give very forthright answers. I hate it when I ask someone what they're child is interested in and the parents acts all humble saying "Oh you don't need to get her/him anything...."  It drives me crazy! If I'm asking, I'm going to get the child something so please give me some direction. I don't find you modest. I find it down-right frustrating as I fumble through the kid's aisles wondering what the heck the child and parent will be ok with! I know I don't have to get "little Mary" something, but maybe I want to so please help me out unless you want to complain about the gift I did choose. (Obviousy this is a big pet-peeve of mine!)

As her party approached we were both a little anxious as we didn't know what to expect with presents. We surely didn't invite anybody for the gifts but knew they would be there, looming over both of us like a big rain-cloud. I also wasn't sure how Ruby Red would react to gifts. Many parents that I am friends with have told stories of how their kids were out of control with the "gimmies" on their birthdays and how embarrassing it was....I've also witnessed it and been appalled. But those same parents complain about the volume of toys in their house and I'm left wondering how many they really have. I've actually wanted a few more toys for Ruby Red, who has since become bored with all the baby toys her sister is in to playing with. However, I also wanted it clear to Ruby Red that it's not about the gifts but about the people who love her and want to share her special day with her. Never getting new toys unless it's her birthday or Christmas, I was worried she would be on "gift-overload".

Ruby Red was a true gem and set the tone very nicely. In fact, I was so impressed with her graciousness with every gift, many times running up to whoever gave her the latest gift to thank them and give them a hug. I here have to take a moment to thank her grandparents as well. I have seen that children who get gifts all year long from grandmas and grandpas tend to be more bratty than others. No really. It's like they think they're entitled to be spoiled. I don't blame the children but the parents who don't nip this in the bud. My parents and in-laws have given an occastional unexpected gift here and there, but it's always been something thoughtful and small and often needed like an outfit or pair of shoes. When she does receive gifts she truly appreciates them because she's not looking for them. For anyone who knows Ruby Red, her 1st "love language" may be quality time but her 2nd is gift giving. Two tiny orange tic tacs as a reward for a good day send her through the roof with joy and a popcicle at grandma's is amazing! (For the record, even though we have popcicles at home, they're more for when a visitor comes so they're still a big deal to her....) It's not about how big it is, it's the thought behind that little gift and I hope she's learning that. Her grandparents have certainly helped in that department and I thank them for setting their priorities for our children by not being excessive, but rather loving and selfless in ways that extend beyond all the "stuff" and help her focus herself on her true prize of getting to Heaven.

So, in summary, thank you to everyone who loves our girls so much. And thank you to Ruby Red. Mommy and daddy were both so proud of you. We hope you have a fun and lively 3rd year. I can't wait to see all the things you create, all the kisses you give the new baby, and all the time you spend playing with Baby Blue. You are a greater gift than we could have ever imagined!

Ruby Red thanking her Godmother


  1. I think it's so nice that you've been able to have a birthday party for R.R. every year. :) So sorry we couldn't make it to this last one! I know she will keep some of these special memories with her forever. When the time comes that you're not near family and friends, she'll still appreciate these early memories and remember all the love and hugs... probably much more than she'll remember the presents! :)

    We've only lived near family for our oldest son's 1st and 2nd birthdays, so we invited family then... and we were blessed to be able to come into town to celebrate our youngest's 1st birthday with family once more, thanks to your gracious hospitality. I'm hoping that one of these years, we'll be able to throw a real party for our middle child... she'll be 6 this year and I'd love to give her a real birthday party sometime soon. Every child should have at least one birthday "bash" of sorts. ;) My parents had a couple of "invitational" birthday parties for me when I was little... when I was 5, and when I was 9. Both are wonderful memories that I will always cherish. :) 4 of my friends celebrated with me when I turned 5, and all the family members on my dad's side celebrated with us at a surprise 9th birthday party - it was also the last time I ever saw my great-grandmother, who was pleased as punch that she'd pulled off such a wonderful birthday surprise. :) Those memories of Gramma Goss, happy, smiling, and looking like a little kid herself, are probably the best final memories I could have ever had of her... :)

  2. Hey, if you can afford the big parties, go for it! We don't have that kind of wiggle room (nor do I really like hosting things) but a good party is always fun to attend. And you're right about Ruby being so sweet at the party...how she let all the little kids help her - very impressive! :) Hopefully her little cousin will pick up on all that!

  3. created2bholy08 August, 2011

    You know, the money thing scared me a little bit but I planned 3 paychecks in advance and, to be honest, with everyone bringing a side dish and me just providing the main dish and paper products (from the dollar store) it actually wasn't bad at all. And I love hosting parties so it was fun for me! The worst part was the alcoholic beverages but even that wasn't too bad.